Subscription Economy News – Week of 11/05/18

November 8, 2018

Every week, we bring you the top stories and analyses from the global Subscription Economy.

Toyota to launch ‘subscription’ car service in January
Excerpts from an article in Nikkei Asian Review
Toyota Motor will next year launch a service that will allow customers to try various car models for a fixed monthly fee in Japan. The new offering is part of the company’s efforts to explore new business opportunities that do not depend on new car sales alone.

Toyota will become the first Japanese automaker to launch such a “subscription” service, envisioning cases where customers could, for example, use its Lexus sedan for a certain period of time and then switch to an SUV. The company will consider introducing the scheme overseas as well, including in Asia.

Read the full article here

Ford buys electric scooter startup Spin
Excerpts from an article by Megan Rose Dickey in TechCrunch
Ford is buying electric scooter startup Spin, Axios reports, citing a price of around $40 million.

Spin currently operates its scooters in Coral Gables, Fla., Washington, D.C., Charlotte, N.C., Durham, N.C., Lexington, Ky., Denver, Colo., Detroit, Mich. and Long Beach, Calif. In addition to operating throughout specific cities, Spin is live on five college campuses. Spin was one of the three companies that initially deployed its scooters in San Francisco back in March.

In recent years, Ford has also purchased commuter shuttle service Chariot, as well as Autonomic and TransLoc.

Over the last year or so, shared electric scooter services have gone from being non-existent to almost everywhere, operated by nearly everyone you would and would not expect. That includes Bird, the Santa Monica-based scooter startup worth north of $2 billion, Lime, another electric scooter unicorn that recently formed a partnership with Uber, Uber’s JUMP, Boosted Board co-founder Sanjay Dastoor’s new startup Skip, Lyft and so many others.

Read the full article here

The New York Times plans to try a dynamic meter
Excerpts of an article by Lucia Moses in DigiDay
The New York Times is planning to introduce a dynamic paywall as it moves into the next phase of its subscription business by focusing on improving retention and reducing churn.

During the company’s third-quarter earnings call, CEO Mark Thompson said the publisher had a strong quarter, with more than 3 million digital subscriptions and 4 million subscriptions in all — the biggest gain in digital subs since the Trump bump right after the 2016 election. The growth has come at some cost, though; the average revenue per user decline 1 percent over the year-ago and prior quarter, and decreases in ARPU are expected to continue into the fourth quarter, company execs said.

That pressure mainly came from steep discounting. The Times had a $1-a-week introductory offer in place for six weeks that yielded strong subscription growth but at the expense of revenue. The Times also lowered its meter to four articles a month from five that visitors can read before hitting the paywall. Thompson said on the call that the Times would be experimenting with introductory pricing; meter count; registration and login; and bundling in the fourth quarter and into 2019.
Read the full article here

For more on what’s making news in the Subscription Economy, check out Zuora’s Subscribed Magazine!